Let the Hypeness In

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by Oliver Wang

This is apropos of nothing but I was recently driving my in-laws' car and they had Sirius/XM on it and while twiddling through the "decade stations" (i.e. "The 70s on 7!"), one happened to be playing this:

Which, of course, automatically made me think of this:








Blvd. Mosse: U Can't Escape the Hypeness (1990)

Produced by the late, great Tony D, this was one of better Jersey hip-hop tunes of its era and frankly, was always kind of genius to me in recognizing the funky potential of a Paul McCartney track.[1 + 2]

And then that got me thinking about other examples of generally-unfunky-rock-dudes-playing-funky-piano, including:


This is Billy Joel, before he was "Billy Joel". The Beatnuts murdered this on an unreleased cut (I'm guessing sample clearance prevented it from coming out officially).[3]

And then, inevitably, that brought me to this:

Which then has to be followed by this:

My friend and colleague Eric Weisbard gave a rather kick-ass paper on Elton's song at the EMP Pop Conference in 2008 which discussed how the song was always in this liminal space between rock and R&B (it hit #1 on BOTH the pop and R&B charts). The Biz knew what he was doing.



Notes:

[1] In all fairness to Sir Paul, let's also point out that his solo career also laced the world with this gem.

[2] By the way, gotta give big props here to Hua who was the first guy to turn me onto the Blvd. Mosse single, back in the early '00s. The single blew me away then and it still does today.

[3] There is, of course, the other "obvious" Joel cut , so beautifully given new life by Marley Marl and Kool G Rap.

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Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

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